Monday, March 21, 2011

Our main site is back up and running!

Just as an FYI, our main site is back up and running, so please feel free to visit that site for updated content.

Friday, March 18, 2011

What are we?

Many of my right wing friends(yes I have many) keep saying that its "MOB" rule at the capitol. They also like to make fun of one of the standard chants that have been going on for weeks:

Show me what democracy looks like.

This is what democracy looks like!
They like to point to the famous Ben Franklin quote "Its a republic Ma'am, if you can keep it." I get the desperation in trying so very hard to diminish what is happening in Madison and all over the state. While we are a republic we have grown to be so much more. What we truly are, as Thom Hartmann states is:

If you want the most technical term, our country is a constitutionally limited representative democratic republic. Our form of government, the constitution limits the power of government. We elect representatives, so it's not a pure democracy. But we do elect them by majority rule so it is democratic. And the form of, the infrastructure, the total form of government, is republican, it is a republic.

In the early days of this country, James Madison basically created a distinction that didn't exist before this, and this was in 1787. The, it used to be, if you look at dictionaries pre 1787, the words democracy and republic were interchangeable. The Roman republic was referred to as a democracy, the Greek democracy was refereed to as a republic. The words were interchanged. And in one of the Federalist papers, and I forget which one it was, I think 14 maybe, but it's been a long time since I read them, in one of the Federalist papers in an effort to, which were put into the newspapers by Hamilton and Madison, and John Jay wrote a couple of them, to sell the constitution to people, because we were operating under the articles of Confederacy in 1787.

To sell the constitution, Madison created this artificial distinction. And what he said, basically, was that democracy, that we weren't creating a democracy in the United States, and in a technical sense it is not a pure democracy, because like Greece, you had to have at least 6,001 people show up for a decision to be made. It had to be real majority rule. And so Hamilton, excuse me, Madison made the point that democracy could arguably be considered a form of mob rule, whereas a republic imposed, you know, an infrastructure of laws and prevented mob rule.

Now, what he omitted, intentionally, because he was trying to sell the constitution, he was trying to basically reinvent language, what he omitted was that we democratically elect our representatives. And later in his life, in the 1830s, after his presidency was over, keep in mind this was in the 1770s or 1780s, in the 1830s when he was an old man, when he was writing his memoirs, he came out and said, and there's a whole, if you go to and look at my book reviews, the very first book review that I ever did for BuzzFlash, which was like five years ago, it's the oldest one on the list, is all about this topic, or it has several chapters on this topic. And I forget the title of it now, but it's a great book and it's written by a guy who's a constitutional scholar ["How Democratic Is the American Constitution?" by Robert A. Dahl.] And Madison in 1834 said, you know, after all these years, we can, you can use the words interchangeably. And that was about the time that the Democratic Republican party that Jefferson created dropped the word "republican" from its name. And that was about the time that Madison, who was one of the early founders of the Democratic Republican party started again using the word democracy.

So from the 1830s, so from the founding or in the mid 1780s until the mid 1830s we referred to America as a Republic. From the 1830s until the modern era we referred to it as a democracy, but then when Joe McArthey came along he started, he and some of his advisors, and Karl Rove really got on this big time, said, "wait a minute, calling this a democracy sounds too much like the Democratic Party. We should call it a Republic because that sounds more like the Republican Party." And so the talking point on right wing radio has been, and Limbaugh's been pushing this for 20 years now, has been that we don't live in a democracy, we live in a republic, and that you shouldn;t call it a democracy, it's a republic. And the reason why is because they like the word republic because it sounds like republican and they hate the word democracy because it sounds like democratic. And ... that's the bottom line, we live in a democratic republic.

Carry on with the chants, they are relevant!

Let's get real

While we have been down, the world of politics has not stopped and waited for us to get back up. Whether Scott Walker is a symptom or the cause, the republicans throughout the country have become empowered to force their extreme far right agenda on the populous. Luckily the people of this country are starting to wake up and see exactly who we went to bed with in November(I believe the correct term is Coyote Ugly). Anyone who thinks we have become a center right country does not understand who the "right" is.

Here are some examples that are flying under the radar:

1. In Florida, Republican Florida state Rep. Kathleen Passidomo blamed a gang rape of an 11 year old girl on HER outfit:

"There was an article about an 11 year old girl who was gangraped in Texas by 18 young men because she was dressed like a 21-year-old prostitute," Passidomo declared.

"And her parents let her attend school like that. And I think it’s incumbent upon us to create some areas where students can be safe in school and show up in proper attire so what happened in Texas doesn’t happen to our students," she added.

2. In Buffalo, Jack Davis a congressional candidate had this gem:
"We have a huge unemployment problem with black youth in our cities. Put them on buses, take them out there [to the farms] and pay them a decent wage; they will work."
3. Kansas state Republican Rep. Virgil Peck offered up this "joke":

Peck made his comments during a Monday meeting of the House Appropriations Committee as it discussed whether the state should try to control the wild hog population by using gunmen in helicopters.

He said, "If shooting these immigrating feral hogs works, maybe we have found a (solution) to our illegal immigration problem.

4. Then there is of course this classic:

Gov. Walker: “We Thought About” Infiltrating Wisconsin Protesters With Troublemakers

Center/right country? Heaven Help us if that's true!

Can someone please tell me where Randy Hopper and Scott Suder live?

From MAL Contends comes this interesting bit of information regarding Republican State Senator Randy Hopper's living situation:
The filing date on the divorce indicated in Hopper's legal filings [Fond du Lac County Case Number 2010FA000374] reads "08-18-2010."

I'm guessing Hopper was not living in the W5192 RIENZI Road house in October and November, 10 days before the November 2010 election day.

But the GAB says he was legally a resident at this W5192 RIENZI Road house?

Former GOP tool, U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (2001-08), was all too happy to file voting fraud charges even when as Dan Bice points out, there was no intent to break the law. See Bice, April 12, 2007 (MJS).

Why is not Hopper facing an investigation? Is he not part of the alleged massive voting fraud from which the GOP says they must protect us by restricting voting access for Wisconsin citizens?
While MAL is wondering where Sen. Hopper really lived - and more importantly, voted - in November 2010, I'm wondering the exact same thing about Republican State Rep. Scott Suder. According to Rep. Suder's Assembly web page and the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board's Voter Public Access database, Suder lives at 102 South 4th Avenue in Abbotsford, an address Suder used to vote in the 2010 partisan primary and general elections, as well as the January 2011 spring primary election.

However, while Rep. Suder's voting address is listed as 102 South 4th Avenue in Abbotsford, his driver's license must give a different address, as a recent traffic lists an address of 501 Kreutzer Street in Athens as Rep. Suder's home address. That means that if the Voter ID legislation that Rep. Suder supports were in effect today, he would not be able to vote in the district he represents in the State Assembly, as Athens is actually located in the 35th State Assembly district.

Scott Walker's "transparent" government results in lawsuit, costs taxpayers thousands of dollars

So much for Republican Governor Scott Walker's promise that his government would be very transparent.

On Wednesday, Gov. Walker's office settled an open records lawsuit brought against it by two media outlets. The Associated Press and the Madison weekly newspaper Isthmus filed the lawsuit March 4 after their attempts to obtain e-mails sent to Walker in support of his proposal to bust public employee unions were stymied by Walker's office, and under the terms of the settlement Walker's office did not admit any fault but agreed to produce the records and pay attorney's fees and costs of around $7,000.

Scott Walker's Wisconsin

From the folks at the Greater Wisconsin Committee comes this gem:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Scott Walker supports recalls

Watch for yourself as Scott Walker explains why recalls are a good thing:

I'll have to agree with Scott Walker....recalls are a good thing, especially when the "Republican 8" are the ones being recalled!

I want to thank you all...

I just wanted to take a few moments to thank those of you who've been loyal readers of Blogging Blue for all the emails I've gotten expressing your support for the blog. I never really expected Blogging Blue to be anything more than an online outlet for my political beliefs, but it's become something much more than that, thanks in large part to those of you who share your thoughts through your comments. You all have made this a truly rewarding experience, and so thank you all.

Many of you have inquired as to when the main site will be back up and running, and I just don't have a good answer to that question, though I'm hoping to see it back up sometime tomorrow (I'm keeping my fingers crossed though). Once the site is back up and running, I'll be tinkering with things to make the blog look and run a little smoother, and I look forward to seeing you all back over there!

Sam Seder: "Feed the rich, starve the worker....that's bullsh---"

Some video from Sam Seder, who was reporting from Madison shortly after Republicans in the legislature voted to take away collective bargaining rights for public employees:

Jim Sullivan endorses Chris Abele

From my email inbox comes news of former County Executive candidate Jim Sullivan's endorsement of Chris Abele to be the next Milwaukee County Executive:
The battle over worker rights in Madison over the past several weeks is a dramatic example why we need to elect leaders who will fight for us and stand up for our shared values.

That's why I enthusiastically endorse Chris Abele for Milwaukee County Executive, and urge you to do everything you can to help elect him on April 5th. He will bring the change and reform Milwaukee County desperately needs, and he will stand up for what's right.
Hopefully Sullivan's endorsement of Chris Abele will quell the concerns some Democrats had about Abele's liberal "credentials," and hopefully the endorsement will help secure Sullivan voters for Chris Abele on April 5, because the last thing Milwaukee County needs is another term of Scott Walker, and that's exactly what we'll get if Rep. Jeff Stone is elected County Executive.

Conservatives: we are being outworked and out-organized in recall efforts

I have to admit this brings a smile to my face:
Both national and Wisconsin-based Republican operatives tell the Huffington Post the party is being dramatically outworked and out-organized by Democrats in the recall campaigns being launched against state Senators.

The operatives, who raised their concerns out of hope it would jar the GOP into assertiveness, argue complacency has taken over after Governor Scott Walker successfully shepherded his anti-collective bargaining bill into law. While the Wisconsin Democratic Party, with major assists from progressive groups and unions, has harnessed resentment towards the governor into a full-throttled effort to recall eight GOP Senators, neither the enthusiasm nor organizational acumen exists on the Republican side of the aisle.
In related news, I have credible reports that the recall efforts against Republican State Senators Dan Kapanke and Randy Hopper have gathered no less than 60% of the total number of signatures needed to trigger recall elections, while the effort to recall Sen. Alberta Darling has gathered no less than 50% of the total number of signatures need to trigger a recall against Darling.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Miracle on the Hudson" co-pilot withdraws hundreds of thousands of dollars from M&I Bank

Yesterday the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Jeff Skiles, the co-pilot in the "Miracle on the Hudson" crash landing in January 2009, has withdrawn hundreds of thousands of dollars from his accounts at M&I Bank and has deposited those funds in other financial institutions. Explaining his decision, Skiles said, "They have supported Gov. Walker and I wanted to send a message to them."

Skiles is a pilot for US Airways and is a member of the US Airways Pilots Association.

If you'd like to learn more about the effort to boycott businesses that supported Scott Walker's gubernatorial campaign in 2010, here's the Facebook group promoting the boycott effort.

This is getting Biblical...

Watch as hundreds of protesters fill up an entire city block in Washington, D.C. to protest the presence of Republican legislators from Wisconsin who happened to be in Washington to raise money on the backs of public employees:

As a friend said, this is getting biblical...

Next Generation PAC to hold meet & greet/fundraiser

From my email inbox comes news of an event next week to meet some great progressive candidates for local office:
NEXT GENERATION MILWAUKEE PAC and Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic invite you to meet Milwaukee’s Progressive Future:

Meagan Holman
candidate for MPS Board District 8

Eyon Biddle
candidate for Milwaukee County Supervisor, District 10

Jason Haas
candidate for Milwaukee County Supervisor, District 14

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
6:30PM – 8:30PM

La Perla Restaurant
734 S. 5th St (Corner of 5th and National) Milwaukee, WI 53204

Come meet three rising stars in Milwaukee’s progressive universe. Meagan, Eyon and Jason are all on the April 5 ballot and endorsed by the NEXT GENERATION MILWAUKEE PAC. They will be available to discuss issues and answer questions in a relaxed, social atmosphere.

Suggested donation: $20.11

Checks payable to "Next Generation Milwaukee PAC"

or call 414-604-NEXT (6398)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hypocrisy, thy name is Randy Hopper

I don't know about you, but Republican State Senator Randy Hopper sure doesn't look too upset about putting on an AFSCME shirt to show his support for some of his constituents on lobby day last year:
Randy Hopper rockin' the AFSCME shirt

This is just yet more proof that Randy Hopper clearly can't be trusted, considering his vote in support of Gov. Walker's attack on Wisconsin's public employee unions.

Fitz behaving badly

Boy, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald sure is a petty and spiteful man.

Fresh off the heels of the "Wisconsin 14" returning to Wisconsin after their three week stand against Republican efforts led by Fitzgerald and Gov. Scott Walker to cripple Wisconsin's public employee unions, Fitzgerald fired off an email to his Republican colleagues in the State Senate advising them the 14 Democratic State Senators were still in contempt of the Senate, despite the fact that those Senators had returned to Wisconsin. Fitzgerald went on to note the votes cast by all 14 Democratic State Senators in committees would not count, a fact that's dripping with hypocrisy, given that during the time the Wisconsin 14 were out of state, Fitzgerald urged them to return and "do the jobs they were elected to do." Apparently Fitzgerald was only interested in having the 14 Democratic State Senators do their jobs when he was trying to ram through drastic changes to collective bargaining and union organizing for public employees, but once he didn't need those 14 Democrats to ram through his union-busting legislation, Fitzgerald wanted to prevent Democratic State Senators from doing their jobs.

Sen. Fitzgerald later lifted the voting block on the 14 Democratic State Senators, with Senate President Mike Ellis saying, "The name of the game is moving this state forward, putting this stuff behind us." While Sen. Ellis' statement about putting "this stuff" behind us sounds great, I'm betting it won't be easy for the 14 Democrats in the State Senate - or the hundreds of thousands of public employees - to put the loss of their collective bargaining rights and the weakening of their unions behind them.

As if Sen. Fitzgerald's stated intention to deny Democratic State Senators the right to vote wasn't arrogant and spiteful enough, Fitzgerald also released a statement shortly after the 14 Democratic State Senators returned in which he called them "the most shameful 14 people in Wisconsin." That statement earned Fitzgerald a "pants, undershorts, and legs on fire" designation from Jim Stingl of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, no small feat to be sure (emphasis mine):
Let's review. Fitzgerald is a sore winner who went way overboard in defining his colleagues from across the aisle as "most shameful." That put 'em up there with sexting blackmailers. And thieves who steal brass cemetery vases from the dead. And child care cheaters who live in mansions. And pedophile priests.

We rate this one pants, undershorts and legs on fire.

Oh, and by the way....

...welcome to our new temporary home, if in fact anyone out there is reading.

Seriously....where does Randy Hopper live?

Before the untimely (though hopefully temporary) crash of Blogging Blue 1.0, I had written about the extramarital affair of Republican State Senator Randy Hopper, as mentioned HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE. In response to the news about Sen. Hopper's extramarital affair, Rebecca Hogan, Hopper's chief of staff, called the accounts "shameful and disgusting," but I think that given the fact that Sen. Hopper ran in 2008 as a "family values" Republican, I think his extramarital affair is what's really shameful and disgusting.

However, while Randy Hopper's extramarital affair is certainly newsworthy (at least in my humble opinion), what might be even more newsworthy are accounts that Hopper doesn't live in the district he represents. Hopper's wife recently told pro-union protesters outside the home she once shared with Hopper that he lived in Madison with his girlfriend, and according to Tony Galli of WKOW, the address Sen. Hopper's office provided as his temporary in-district residence is a Town of Empire home co-owned by a campaign contributor who is also an employee of a radio station owned by Hopper, begging the question: where does State Senator Randy Hopper really live?

Drinking Liberally - March 21, 2011

Here's the information for next week's Drinking Liberally...
Greetings one and all!

Though I sent you all an email last month announcing our new meeting date and location, I'd be remiss if I didn't remind you all that Drinking Liberally will be held next week Monday, March 21, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at Transfer Pizzeria & Cafe on 1st and Mitchell.

With the attack on public employees by Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican followers in the legislature, now's the time to get together to discuss what we as liberals can do to fight back, and so I'd invite each of you to join us.

Here in Milwaukee County, we have a unique opportunity to rebuke Scott Walker's agenda, as Rep. Jeff Stone, a Scott Walker clone, is running for County Executive. With the election for County Executive only weeks away, we all can send Scott Walker and his clone Jeff Stone a message! As our very special guest at next week's gathering, Jeff Stone's opponent, Chris Abele, will join us to talk about his candidacy and to let us know how we can help get him elected. I hope you'll join us!

Where: Transfer Pizzeria & Cafe
101 W. Mitchell Street
Milwaukee, WI, 53204

When: Monday, March 21, 2011 @ 7:00 p.m.


Zach & the Drinking Liberally crew